We know farm to table (field to fork, plow to plate, etc.) is hardly a new idea. However, for a long time I have thought about starting a blog about food and its preparation.
The wife and I have a passion for food and really love to eat. We take a lot of time when at home to have good quality meals with local meats and veggies. Whenever we go out to eat, we also like to think we are eating the best possible. We have joined some local CSAs and also frequent the local Farmers Markets in the area. We have gotten to know many of the farmers and this is very important to us.
When I was young, I would spend the week in the summer, with my grandparents in Horse Pasture, Virginia. My grandfather was a man that worked in the furniture factory in Martinsville, VA and when he came home, he would change into his overalls and straw hat and go out to work in his fields. He maintained around 3 acres of farm with a small garden tiller and basic hand tools. His brother would come in the spring and again in the fall to turn the fields over with his tractor; but the rest was done by my grandfather’s own hands. When the harvest started coming in, he would go and pick the crop that was ready and bring it in the house to my grandmother who would then take over. She carefully prepared all the food for either dinner that day or can / preserve the food to make it through the winter. Although they would still have to shop, the primary food was gathered and eaten from their own fields. I remember sitting down for “supper” (as they called it) and there were fresh green beans and corn. Actual scratch-made biscuits and meats from my uncle’s farm next door. I always thought that grandma’s food was the best, but did not know why at the time. My parents also had a garden for years that would place some fresh veggies on the table during the summer which were also great to have. As a child I did not have the understanding of why the foods tasted better from the garden. Just wondered why so much effort was place to do it.
Eventually, I would go back to the city life, and after growing-up, moved to a large city. Inevitably, this led to supermarkets and fast food. I lost touch with good quality ingredients. In their place stood food (I use the term loosely) did had 6-(12-)(18-)months shelf life which had so many things added or enhancements to make them grow 4 times as fast. In so many markets, quality has been replaced for quantity. Freshness for a longer shelf-life. Taste for convenience.
I was this way for years until I met my current wife and we started to explore local markets and changing our eating style. We searched the web and papers looking for local farms and farmers markets to try. Going down the road in the winter, we would see little stands on the side of the road and we would mark where we were so we can return in the spring.
Today these mega markets (we know who they are but will not mention names), they want to purchase 100 train cars of tomatoes, not caring where or what method is used to grow them as long as the train cars are full. The genetic manipulation to have all tomatoes on the vine ripen at the same time or sturdy enough so they can use a mass harvester to yank the whole plant out — this has to make you stop and think. What exactly has been done so can I can get a tomato in January — and where did it come from?
By buying locally, we accomplish a few things. The two most important are that we eat better quality food (and fully enjoy it!) and the second is we are helping a neighbor feed their family and support their farm by purchasing from them.
I think it important to support our people at home, and this includes farmers, local stores and you neighbors. This will help your town or city survive and hopefully prosper. I hope that this idea helps everyone in developing habits that provide for good food at home or when dining out. Avoiding the chains that have lost touch with quality.
Chris & Kathy